ENRP 2017 Capstone Projects Underway

Whitehouse flowers
February 11, 2017

An annual rite of passage, the ENRP Capstone project is done in the final semester of an MA student’s second year here at GW.  The Capstone synthesizes many diverse components of the ENRP curriculum in the form of a major “pro bono” project for an external client.  In Spring 2017, there are four capstone projects underway, each composed of a four-student team.

  • For the World Wildlife Fund, students are helping to evaluate and extend WWF’s River Basin Report Cards.  These Report Cards are intended to engage local stakeholders in a comprehensive assessment of conditions that affect the health of river basins surrounding, for example, the Mekong River and the Orinoco River.  Students are studying the use of report card methodologies in other environmental areas, as well as in other sectors, and will recommend potential improvements in the WWF program.
  • For Oceana, students are studying strategies for conserving shark populations around the world in order to inform shark conservation policies in the United States.  With detailed case studies of five countries, students will identify a menu of potential approaches, and assess the strengths and weaknesses of each.  They will also consider country-specific economic and cultural factors that may foster or impede the success of shark conservation efforts.
  • For the District of Columbia’s Department of Energy & Environment, students are helping the DC government maximize the sustainability and resiliency of its investments in transportation infrastructure.  In particular, students will be comparing the costs and benefits of investing in “green” infrastructure to investing in “business-as-usual” infrastructure, as well as investigating whether existing standards can guide such investments.  Administrative feasibility and environmental justice considerations will also be studied.
  • Focused on the City of Baltimore, students in this capstone project are investigating how to expand urban agriculture – not in community gardens, but on multi-acre plots.  As the City’s population (and housing stock) has shrunk, more land has become available for farming.  The team will focus on how variations in land tenure rules can affect the willingness of farmers to make long-term commitments to work certain plots.  The team will investigate similar programs in other cities, in order to identify “lessons learned.”